Friday, October 25, 2013

Ten Top Surprises So Far in Paris

This scene is everywhere throughout the city. Little cafes and boulangeries (bakeries).

And fromageries - cheese shops!

Some of the grandeur just crossing a bridge.

Places for people to sit all over the city.


Lee and I put our heads together and came up with this list:

10.  Paris is a bit dirtier than we might have expected. Especially avoid the lower part of the islands in the Seine where you can catch the boats - and not sure what else you might catch. We ended up running there yesterday. Yeeeewwwwww.

9.  The energy of the city is more like New York than we expected. Just at 6 stories high instead of skyscrapers. Cool people moving pretty fast and a lot of people wearing black.

8.  All the food isn't good. There is bad food everywhere in the world, we've decided. It's best to know where you are going to eat rather than just hope you'll get lucky. So we are taking the advice of friends and foodies who've been here. You can't even count on all coffee to be good - like you generally can in Italy. We're finally just making our own morning coffee.

7.  The Eiffel Tower isn't as big as you think it is.

6.  The grandeur of the Louvre took our breath(s) away and is much much much bigger than we imagined. "Mind-blowing" was Lee's expression. We thought the Metropolitan in NYC was impressive. Piddle. Really, GRAND is just the word for the city. They didn't just play with the idea here. It's over the top.

5.  There really are a lot of smokers here. In the cafes, moms and dads with little kids stopping for a smoke on a bench. Lot of second hand smoke.

4.  The capacity of the city to support small, privately owned businesses is stunning! This is very confusing to me. Americans seem to be buying everything from big box corporations. Seems we (America) are supposed to be the country of opportunity for the little guy. There are LOTS of little guys making it here! It is soooo charming.

3.  The baguettes and cheese are so amazing that if I never ate anything else in my life, I would die a happy woman. They really deserve their reputation.

2. Where we are staying (in the 3rd - the Marais) it is incredibly QUIET - all night long, and well into the morning. People get a late start here.

1. The single most surprising thing about Paris is how casually people are dressed - in a grunge kind of way. Leather, jeans, boots, scarves. And this goes for all ages. We have seen about three people dressed up in the three days we've been here. Don't get me wrong - both men and women have style. People are expressive in their dress. The surprise is .... we feel completely comfortable - which is not what we expected!


  1. I've been looking forward to hearing about your impressions of Paris. My husband and I just visited again last spring to visit our son, who has been there for a year now doing research for his PhD. If you haven't already gotten this advice, we highly recommend Septime.

  2. It would appear to me that you are in heaven, with the exception of the dirt and smoke. xo

  3. Oh, that is so on our list! We haven't been able to get in, but now we are trying for our final night - when we return from the coast. Good to know of someone who has been there! And what a lucky son you have!